I’ve been back in the States for a few days and have begun to recover from the 10.5 hour time difference. I’ve also had time to reflect about my brief stay in India and the many amazing people I met while there.
Throughout my trip, I’ve seen that the Indian Church is experiencing incredible growth. This isn’t an outsider missionary intervention: it’s a movement that is being led, implemented and significantly funded by Indian nationals. The growth of the Indian Church isn’t about Western imperialism or neo-colonialism – it is about God transforming the lives of men and women and their communities for the Kingdom through a movement that is distinctly Indian.
I was amazed at the joyful hospitality that I received while in India. Everywhere I went I was greeted by warm smiles, cups of spicy sweetened chai and handfuls of flowers. Those simple gifts were presented with such delight, without pretense or a request for anything in return. I found myself humbled by the unaffected largesse of my Indian brothers and sisters.
The men and women that I met are experiencing the delight of being a part of God’s Kingdom. They have claimed a new identity that has broken down the caste barriers and connected them to a hope that is both now and eternal. Some of these Christians have become pastors and evangelists, but many more have started schools and become doctors and nurses. It’s all part of God’s Kingdom after all.
Upon returning home, I’ve been encouraged and admonished by the joyfulness modeled so wonderfully by the Indian Christians I met. Should I be more joyful in my life? Is my materialism and consumerism keeping me from that joy? St. John’s strong caution to the Ephesian church in Revelation: Don’t forget your first love. In the midst of doing many of the “right things” those 1st century Christians had forgotten the joy of being a part of God’s family. I think that that statement could be said of many Christians in the United States right now. We can learn a lot from the Indian church.
Finally, many of you sent kind emails during my travels – encouraging me to write about these experiences and underscoring the relevance of this sort of analysis our world as believers. Thanks for reading!